Mitigating Governance Risks from Investment in Southeast Asia – A Study of Chinese Capital Flows to Eight Countries

12.6.2019, 12:00PM to 1:30PM

Event Description: 

Capital flows and foreign assistance loans with little accountability have significant potential to exacerbate corruption and widen governance gaps in Southeast Asia. These capital flows – including official development aid, economic assistance, loans, foreign direct investment, and portfolio investment – pose a risk for nations with weak governance and fragile institutions. These flows are nevertheless essential to the region’s growth and to alleviating the tremendous infrastructure investment gap required to bring equitable, sustainable improvements to the livelihoods of Southeast Asian citizens. Chinese sources of capital, which make up an increasingly large portion of the flows into Southeast Asia, pose particular risks due to their lack of transparency and accountability and their frequent use of non-inclusive procurement processes. The event will discuss CIPE’s new publication which aims at assessing the impact of Chinese investment on transparency and good governance in Southeast Asia and presenting potential solutions to closing these governance gaps.


Opening Remarks:

Andrew Wilson is the Executive Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington, D.C. Wilson has extensive experience working with the private sector on development issues in conflict and post-conflict settings, crafting successful business strategies to reduce corruption, encouraging entrepreneurship development, strengthening business advocacy, improving corporate governance standards, and promoting economic reform. He is called on frequently to speak about the linkages between democracy and business, as well as the challenges to growth in emerging markets, including corruption and the threat of corrosive capital. Wilson has worked at CIPE since 1996 in a variety of roles, including Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Programs, and Regional Director for Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia. Prior to his time at CIPE, Wilson worked for several development NGOs focusing on economic reform, private sector growth, and public diplomacy. Over the years, Wilson has served on numerous international working groups dedicated to political and economic development in transitional societies. He has also worked with non-profit boards to improve strategic planning and optimize organizational development. He is currently a board member of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and is a Director and Trustee of the Meadows Foundation in Dallas, Texas. Wilson received his MA in East European Area Studies from the University of London (SSEES) and a BA in History from Lewis and Clark College.


Catherine Tai is the Program Officer for Asia of the Center for International Private Enterprise. She is responsible for overall program management, performance reporting, donor communication and partnership management throughout Southeast Asia. Her portfolio of projects focuses on partnering with business associations to strengthen the role of the private sector and mobilize local networks of small and medium enterprises for constructive policy reform. In addition, she manages regional initiatives such as Southeast Asia Think Tank Network and anti-corruption projects that improve transparency of public procurement system through monitoring. She works closely with local program partners to ensure progress towards stated outputs and outcomes and travels throughout the region to monitor results and meet with stakeholders and beneficiaries.


  • Laurence Todd, Director of Research at IDEAS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Laurence oversees IDEAS’ research program and government relations, and has a background in foreign affairs and trade policy. Laurence has previously served in a number of roles in the British government, including in the Ministry of Defense and Her Majesty’s Treasury where Laurence managed policy and analysis relating to migration. Laurence worked for 3 years in 10 Downing Street as an adviser to former British Prime Minister David Cameron, providing policy advice on foreign affairs, European policy and trade. Laurence received a First Class Honors in Philosophy from the University of Bristol.

  • Mary Silaban, Senior Fellow at Paramadina Public Policy Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia

    Mary’s research interests are on property rights, investments on the mining sector as well as creative industry. She is also a Director of a firm focusing on communications, data and business advocacy. In the past, Mary worked for the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Indonesia where she served as Director of Communications and Government Relations. Her first (and most proud of) profession is a journalist for 11 years. Her specialty was oil and gas, energy and mineral reporting, as well as other sectors. Mary received her bachelor’s degree from Department of Engineering Geology from Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) in 2001. She also holds a master’s degree in international political economy of Resources from Colorado School of Mines (CSM), USA awarded in 2012.

  • Jonathan E. Hillman, CSIS

    Jonathan E. Hillman is a senior fellow with the CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy and director of the Reconnecting Asia Project, one of the most extensive open-source databases tracking China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other infrastructure projects across the Eurasian supercontinent. Hillman has testified before Congress, briefed government officials and Fortune 500 executives, and written on economics, national security, and foreign policy issues for the Financial Times, National Interest, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other outlets. His book, The Emperor’s New Road, will be published by Yale University Press in 2020. Prior to joining CSIS, Hillman served as a policy adviser at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where he contributed to the 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy and the President’s Trade Agenda and directed the research and writing process for essays, speeches, and other materials explaining U.S. trade and investment policy. He has also worked as a researcher at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, and in Kyrgyzstan as a Fulbright scholar. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Presidential Scholar, and Brown University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received the Garrison Prize for best thesis in international relations.


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